Skip to comments.I’m an Army veteran, and my benefits are too generous (You knew they'd get to this)
Posted on 06/08/2014 6:29:27 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Tom Slear, who retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in 2001, is a freelance writer in Annapolis.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a receptionist in a physical therapists office that I was covered by Tricare, the militarys health-care program for service members, retirees and their families. (It has nothing to do with the troubled Veterans Affairs hospital system.)
Good deal, I said.
You deserve it, she responded.
Really? If she only knew.
Though I spent more than five years on active duty during the 1970s as an Army infantry officer and an additional 23 years in the Reserves, I never fired a weapon other than in training, and I spent no time in a combat zone. I returned to active duty for five months in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War, but I was assigned to the Pentagon. My hazardous duty consisted of a daily drive on New York Avenue before its upgrade.
I am hardly unique. Despite the extended operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly half of the 4.5 million active-duty service members and reservists over the past decade were never deployed overseas. Among those who were, many never experienced combat....
(Excerpt) Read more at m.washingtonpost.com ...
Nobody is forcing her to accept those benefits or use the VA, are they?
The media has launch a full scale attack against our military.
LA Times Columnist suggests Tahmooressi was gearing up for mass murder
3 guns and 400 rounds.
Ain’t even a good day at the range
Tom, make your personal guilt trip reparations check out to: Department of the US Treasury. Make sure you calculate every single dime of retirement and associated military benefits into that payback, so you can live with a clear conscience.
There is always one slacker in any group.
My history is similar...active duty 80-84, reserves 84-00, active duty again 00-03, retired from the reserves in 04; I’m not yet eligible for retired pay. I will receive a generous amount of retired pay plus other bennies that I worked for. No, I didn’t deploy to either Iraq of Afghanistan but I was on a short list to go shortly after 9/11. Luck of the draw.
I don’t begrudge he author for saying that his bennies (and by extension mine) are too generous but I’d respectfully disagree. If you want a military that people will want to join, you have to provide competitive pay and bennies in wartime and in peacetime. Yes, people do need to understand the risks inherent in military service but they should be appropriately compensated.
Try it on a Chief’s retirement.
Friggen LtCol. Give me a break.
America demands Justice for the Fallen of Benghazi!
When I got “out” after my active USMC service in 1968, the last thing I ever considered was to use anything - anything - involving the military, which of course included VA hospitals or medical.
If he wasn’t a hypocrite he would have resigned rather than retired and there would have been no issue for him to feel guilt ridden about.
I hear you, brother. Thanks for your time which I hope was well spent.
'68 is the year I got out as a Marine Corporal E-4....we sure as sh*t weren't in it for the gold....
Excellent point. He could have done that, or just not processed the application for retired pay.
Hang yourself, brave Tom. We fought at Arques today, and you were not there.
A journalist . Wow. What a surprise. Another yapping Chihuahua for the Democrat party. He’s trained to yap whenever his masters tell him to.
Yap, little dog, yap! Your masters are ordering you.
If he had any honor, he’d give back his journalist checks, too.
Let's take an axe to welfare, food stamps, Section 8, the multitude of bogus SSDI claims, etc. and then we can talk about cuts to the benefits that service members like myself actually worked for.
You are phony and a shill for what the administration is going to do next.
Those Democrat make-believe pig farmers.......did they earn their money? Did he yap at them?
Literally millions of welfare recipients draw more than some retirees and they did nothing for their benefits but fail at most everything they tried and give birth to illegitimate kids!!!
I think that the guy is being misleading at the very least. When he retired from the reserves and was under 60 years of age, he was not eligible for TRICARE, but he could buy TRICARE coverage for himself and his family. Once he turned 60, then he became eligible for TRICARE, but only for 5 years. At 65, he becomes eligible for Medicare and his TRICARE becomes TRICARE for LIFE, a second payer only.
That’s probably about right given his service. He wants his uninformed readers that he has received full healthcare free of charge ever since he first joined the military and that is just not true. But, he has an agenda, doesn’t he.
Let’s take an axe to welfare, food stamps, Section 8, the multitude of bogus SSDI claims, etc. and then we can talk about cuts to the benefits that service members like myself actually worked for.
Nailed it. He doth protest too much.
Yoda say “Try? There is no try. Only Collect, or Collect not.”
I am a gray-area retiree (Commander, same as Lt Col in the article) and I will start drawing retirement in 5 years. I think the retirement benefits are pretty good but I did sacrifice a lot of weekends (some in non-pay status) and summers. My understanding is that TriCare is a pain-in-the ass to deal with, the docs I work with cringe at the thought of getting some procedures pre-approved. TriCare is only the primary payor until one is Medicare eligible.
IIRC, Corporal's pay was $190/month, Combat Pay was $66/month, Overseas Pay was, perhaps, $11/month.
Man, we were rolling in the dough! BIG BUCKS!
Plus free C-Rats!
All military retirees are veterans, but not all veterans are military retirees.
Serving 4 and out is absolutely honorable. Serving 20+ has additional benefits. IF you make it.
So this idiot wants his experience to drive retiree benefit policy for everyone?
I served 22 years, 1977-1999, in the Reserves without an overseas deployment. But I did not have enough “good” retirement years so I get nothing, nada, zip. I got lots of retirement points on bad years (those where I was in the Reserve Control Group instead of a Reserve Unit) but one needs 20 good years for the retirement. I’m not complaining but just mentioning not all of us that put in lots of time fighting the battles at Forts Lewis, McCoy, Knox, Hood, etc are not on TriCare or putting any pressure on the budget by drawing retirement. We did not deploy but we often trained those who did. I was combat arms (12A) and ready and willing to go if called upon.
The benefit I did get was the salary at the time which did indeed help me out.
James Haltom · Richmond Community College
I spent 22 years on active duty. I was never in a Combat Zone but I was deployed to several Eminent Danger areas. I was never assigned to the same post twice and had 9 PCS moves. I had 2 tours to Germany and 1 to Korea. While I traveled the globe I lost one sister and one parent. This aside, I think I did an outstanding job in a small field where promotions at the top were slow but I did retire as an E-7. My pension is what it is. Is it too much or too small? Who can say? Did I earn it, oh yea! As for an LTC with some kind of guilt complex I say Shut up. If you feel you didnt earn your keep, turn it in, give it away, write a check and shove it where the sun doesnt shine. Just dont whine to the rag called the Washington Post and have a pity party at the expense of real soldiers. You might have made the grade of LTC (the most useless of all ranks) but you never lived the life of a soldier and for that Im thankful. Looking forward to more tales of your lackluster career. Mean while use some of you Tricare health benefits for psychological counseling.
Reply · Like · 5 · Follow Post · Yesterday at 17:58
If you think its too generous just return your retirement and opt of TRICARE and STFU. Some of us who did something useful earned that retirement pay while your jolly fat ass hid behind a desk.
There’s always one in a minority who will make the loudest noise. I’m sure those who spent most of their time in the Reserves spent a lot of time during the weeks of attending the so called HQ nights*, where even though you were there every week, you never got paid for it. When you retired you only received 25% of a regular’s retirement check. It was a payment that was earned, it wasn’t stolen, and no fraud was committed, as is the case in many of the government payment recipients these days.
*25 years of HQ nights is in the area of 1300 drills that were unpaid attendance.
Reserves and ARNG units in my time were a haven for those who feared the draft, but many of the units had prior service veterans as CO’s and Senior NCO’s.
I’m a military retiree’s widow, not old enough for Tricare for Life, and I have and use Tricare Prime and let me assure you, they have not been a pain-in-the-ass to deal with.
I’m sure there are exceptions for some people, but Tricare has really taken care of me and mine. I’m fighting cancer for the second time and they are doing everything that I need them to do and have given me a LOT of care straight through from the first time I had it, two years ago. My doctors (and they are legion) don’t mind it at all, are glad to have Tricare patients.
Well, she should decline to accept them if she does not need them to leave more for those that do.
Right, this will happen immediately after Warren Buffet and Bill Clinton send the IRS all of the extra tax money that they are so eager pay.
A Master Chief and a LTCOL ain’t that far apart, considering the educational requirements for an officer. Both live comfortably.
So he’s taking money he doesn’t need, that other vets need?
The contract I came in on (like every one else did) provided for Medical, Dental,(which was changed thanks to those morons in Congress) and a retirement check (E6 retirement is nice but it ain't no O5 retirement check) so if this clown is complaining refuse the dam check, send to to the treasury.
A retired Army LTC and the best he can do is “freelance writer” writing for a commie liberal rag like the WAPO? It sounds to me like somebody might have a few “issues”.
“Man, we were rolling in the dough!”
In 1968, I was E-5, over two, married and got a separate quarters allowance. My take-home was right around $350. We ate a lot of macaroni.
Pretty much what I was thinking-he needs to shit or get off the pot.
The author is cherry picking his numbers. As I show below, Tricare retired beneficiaries pay more than just the $547.68 annual family premium.
Most employer based insurance have comparable co-pays but their employees pay is a lot higher than a retiree retainer pay, (remember, the article is comparing military retiree medical benefits cost to civilians who are still in the workforce and the cost of their medical benefits).
(A typical retired E-7 with 20 years of service receives close to $19,000 annually in retired retainer pay, so the cost of Tricare is a larger percentage of his/her retired retainer pay than the percentage cost of the employer sponsored medical benefits is to a civilian employee).
Also, if the retiree is still in the workforce and the employer offers health insurance the retiree must take it. He/she cannot opt out of the employer plan in order to use only Tricare. Tricare then becomes 2nd payer to the employer plan.
Tricare for Life makes Medicare the primary payer and Tricare 2nd payer. Also, to be qualified for Tricare for Life, the beneficiary must have Medicare Part B, (monthly premium is $104.90 [$1,258.80 annually], or higher, depending on income level).
Tricare Prime vs Tricare Standard for retired beneficiaries.
Tricare Prime has an annual premium;
Individual: $273.84 per year
Family: $547.68 per year
Plus you pay;
Ambulance Services-$20 per occurance
Ambulatory (Same Day) Surgery-$25 per visit
Outpatient-$25 (individual visit)$17 (group visit)
Inpatient-$40 per day (no charge for separately billed professional charges)
Clinical Preventive Services-$0
Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics & Supplies-20% of the negotiated fee
Emergency Room Visit-$30 per visit
Home Health Care-$0
Hospitalization-$11 per day ($25 minimum)
Lab & X-Ray Services-$12 per visit (unless billed as a clinical preventive service)
Maternity Care-Office visits and hospitalization and a hospital. (One global fee): $11 per day ($25 minimum)
Officed visits for delivery in a TRICARE-authorized birthing center: $25 per visit
Office visits for delivery planned at home or other setting: $12 per visit
Newborn Care-$11 per day ($25 minimum)
Outpatient Visit-$12 per visit
Skilled Nursing Care-$11 per day ($25 minimum)
If you use a non-network provider you pay;
Point-of-Service Fees: When you use the point-of-service option, youll pay:
Point-of-service fees instead of your regular copayment
Any other fees charged by non-network providers.
These fees dont apply to your annual catastrophic cap.
You must pay this amount before cost sharing begins for outpatient services.
Outpatient services: 50% of Tricare allowed charges
Hospitalization: 50% of Tricare allowed charges
At Military Hospital: (if the drug is available; most non-formulary drugs are not available), $0.00
Tricare Mail Order Pharmacy:
You can get up to a 90-day supply for most prescriptions.
$0 for generic formulary drugs
$13 for brand-name formulary drugs
$43 for non-formulary drugs, unless you establish medical necessity
You can get up to a 30-day supply of most prescriptions.
$5 for generic formulary drugs
$17 for brand-name formulary drugs
$44 for non-formulary drugs, unless you establish medical necessity
Youll pay more to have prescriptions filled at non-network pharmacies, including host nation pharmacies overseas. Your costs depend on your plan and the type of drug.
If you use a Prime option, youll pay a 50% cost share after the point of service deductible is met.
Retired beneficiaries pay $150.00 per member or $300.00 per family deductible annually.
Retired beneficiaries then pay a co-pay of 25% of Tricare allowed charges. (However. if the provider does not file the claim you will pay the provider cash and then file your own claim. In which case, if Tricare allowed charges are less than the provider billed, (and the amount you paid at the time of service), you will only get reimbursed by Tricare 75% of the allowed amount.
If, for example, the provider will not file the claim with Tricare, (this is happening more frequently), and billed you $1,000.00 but Tricare only allowed $750.00, you will absorb the $250.00 difference between the billed and allowed amount, and then Tricare will reimburse you $562.50. Your total cost would be $437.50, or 43.75% of the billed amount, (not the 25% co-pay that you are required to pay).
Even providers that file Tricare claims for Tricare Standard beneficiaries are allowed to bill 15% above the Tricare allowed amount, but anything above is called balance billing which is illegal.
And now DOD wants to increase the Tricare Prime premium to be more equal to that paid by the civilian sector. They have already increased the pharmacy fees and want to increase them even more. Many doctors and hospitals are refusing to accept Tricare. This is especially true with the highly specialized physicians and specialty hospitals, such as cancer centers.
I also served from 1985-1993 , the one fact this jerk fails to mention is that for ALL of those years he was “government property. What this means is that at ANY time he could be put anywhere his superiors saw fit. Another real factor are deaths that occur during training. Our republic generates so much wealth that those who literally sign away there lives DESERVE this . Personally I will only (maybe) utilize a VA loan...this is the only thing that interests me as I was in the medical field and want nothing to do with there services in that realm , I am quite capable to address that when the need arises. Again I cannot stress enough the feeling of being owned by the government and subject to their whim and God forbid you upset an officer ....can ruin your day,month or year . Anyone who has served active duty knows what I mean. What a terrible article full of non and half truths.
You may have been correct the first time.
Less than 1 percent of our current population ever serve in the military. Only a small percentage of that do the amount of time required to get retirement benefits. How much does this affect the budget. Hey, you want to go after someone? How about attacking the federal employees generous retirement benefits? There are far more of them than the military retirees.
One thing he says is true about Military personnel. There are a lot more rear echelon types in the military than the general public knows. I remember years ago as a Sergeant seeing a Master Sergeant (E-8, real high up in the enlisted ranks for those non military types) in the bank in his Charlies. He only had a good conduct ribbon and one sea service deployment ribbon. Which meant he was some office type who in probably 15 years or more in the Marines had never done anything. Seeing those kind of things always pissed me off because of all the combat and deployments I had done.
Sorry, I mean to say if you spent 10 of your 18 years on ship, you did a lot of deployments. Again, don’t feel bad. You did more than your share.